Physical Michigan creates some havoc of its own to rout VCU

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Michigan made Havoc look helpless.

Now Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and the rest of the cool-headed Wolverines are part of the school’s longest NCAA Tournament run in nearly two decades.

Mitch McGary had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and fourth-seeded Michigan breezed through Virginia Commonwealth’s vaunted pressure with a clinical performance Saturday, beating the fifth-seeded Rams, 78-53, to advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 1994. VCU couldn’t create many easy baskets with its press, even though the Wolverines didn’t have much time to prepare for it.


‘‘This is a very high-IQ team that can pick up things very quickly,’’ Michigan coach John Beilein said. ‘‘Everybody that played in the game — even the guys that did not play — just responded beautifully in the way we want Michigan to respond in these situations.’’

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McGary, a 6-foot-10-inch freshman, set season highs in scoring and rebounding and was a huge physical presence inside. VCU had no answer for him around the basket, and that pressure defense — the Rams call it ‘‘Havoc’’ — wasn’t much of a factor.

VCU was relentless in a 46-point rout of Akron on Thursday night, but the Rams met their match against Michigan’s backcourt. Burke and Hardaway rarely looked rattled, and Michigan (28-7) committed only 12 turnovers.

The 71-point swing by VCU — from a 46-point win to a 25-point loss — was the largest in NCAA Tournament history, according to STATS, Inc. In 1968, Houston beat Texas Christian, 103-68, to reach the Final Four, then lost to UCLA, 101-69, for a 67-point swing.

VCU (27-9) went 0-8 this season when forcing under 15 turnovers.


‘‘Certainly in retrospect it wasn’t a very good matchup,’’ Rams coach Shaka Smart said. ‘‘The credit for that goes to Michigan. I don’t think that we, for whatever reason, had great bounce today and energy. Our guys tried. They always do, but I think what Michigan was able to do to us early on and us missing some easy shots around the basket and maybe some outside looks we’d normally make, that may have contributed to our spirit not being quite where it needed to be.’’

McGary made his first seven shots from the field. Burke scored 18 points, and Hardaway and Glenn Robinson III added 14 each.

Juvonte Reddic scored 16 points for VCU.

Michigan heads to Arlington, Texas, to play either Kansas or North Carolina on Friday. The Wolverines are advancing farther in the NCAA Tournament than they have since Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard were still on the team; Michigan reached the quarterfinals in 1994.

‘‘It’s great for the program,’’ Beilein said. ‘‘At the University of Michigan, we want to be champions, and we’re trying for Big Ten championships. And when you get in the NCAA Tournament, you’re trying to do the exact same thing.’’